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In the face of rising natural disasters and cyberattacks, organizations have started putting more thrust into revamping their Disaster Recovery (DR) efforts. A recent survey by the International Data Corporation states that over 88% of businesses globally have expressed their intent to build their DR strategies on the cloud. However, the main challenge they face is choosing the right cloud platform to support their DR activities. While the DRaaS market is steadily increasing by 44% every year, Microsoft Azure Site Recovery is emerging as a market leader.
Why should one build their Disaster Recovery on Microsoft Azure? Let’s find out.
4 Reasons Businesses Should Choose Microsoft Azure Disaster Recovery Solutions
- Unprecedented Security: Microsoft Azure is compliant with global regulations and standards such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, FISMA, SOC 1,2, and 3, and FedRAMP. With Azure Site Recovery, the data is encrypted and even enables live replication of this encrypted data at rest or in transit.
- Smooth Integrations with VMware: Azure Site Recovery can integrate seamlessly with VMware vCenter environments. Meaning, they can identify virtual machines and replicate them on Azure, leading to zero downtime.
- Seamless Fail-over Testing: It's true that testing fail-overs for a DR strategy is a cumbersome process. With Azure Site Recovery, the fail-over testing takes place at the click of a button and does not hinder the production process at all.
- Easy on Pockets: The best thing about Azure Site Recovery is its cost-effective. Users just need to pay based on the number of virtual machines protected during 1 month without bearing the expenses of software licensing and hidden fees.
Do you want to know how you can build a DR strategy in a hybrid cloud environment? Read this blog
How to Create a Microsoft Azure Disaster Recovery Plan: Here’s a Step-by-step Guide
The basis of a reliable Microsoft Azure Disaster Recovery Strategy lies in a reliable workload infrastructure. Before creating the DR strategy, it is important to first assess reliability at every step of the workload design. This includes setting realistic workload reliability targets such as recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO).
Given below is a 5-step guide to building an effective DR strategy on Microsoft Azure.
Assess mission-critical and noncritical flows.
While defining workloads, it is crucial to define system flows and user flows. System flows describe the internal workings of a workload. They mostly comprise input processing, output processing, data movement, external APIs and backend servers. On the other hand, user flows focus on interface design and overall user experiences. They involve user interactions and user interface. Determining the flows in the early stage of workload design can give a deep insight into what impacts the reliability of the workload. It helps in aligning architectural goals with the reliability of the workloads.
Creating Failure Mode Analysis Processes
Failure Mode Analysis is a process to assess loopholes within the workloads and design mitigation plans accordingly. At each point of the workload, IT teams must assess the blast radius of the failure points to either create a new workload or refactor the workloads. The more complex the environments, the more complex the failures will be. FMA lets developers build workloads in such a way that they can overcome any failure events and recover from them quickly.
What are the 8 failure points that can affect your DR Plan? Read the blog
Detecting Reliability Targets
Reliability targets are established mostly by business stakeholders. To elaborate further, the stakeholders set realistic expectations for workload reliability so that the same can be communicated to their clients via contractual agreements. But how can one set a reliability target? Create metrics based on user and system flows to evaluate a workload’s target values. Measure how important these flows are to the workload. Utilize the values to design the workload, considering its architecture, testing, reviewing, and incident management. Workloads that fail to meet a particular target eventually affect the business too.
Designing Redundancy, Scaling, Self-preservation, and Self-healing
It's important to add redundancy to the critical flows of the workloads. To meet the reliability target, add appropriate layers of redundancy to data, networking, and infra. Add this redundancy to offer a strong foundation for building a workload. This is because when a workload is designed without an infrastructure redundancy, there is a higher probability of failures and downtime.
Read this blog to explore the reality of how downtime can affect your business.
To design a reliable scaling strategy for your workloads, focus on identifying load patterns for the user and system flows for each workload that leads to a scaling operation.
The second step involves crafting a scaling strategy of the workloads. This is done by assessing the load patterns for system and user flows for each workload. After the assessment, the IT teams can study how these patterns can impact the infra and accordingly enable automation to address the scaling requirements.
By adding self-preservation capabilities to the workload, developers can reduce the likelihood of a serious outage and let the workload even function in a fully degraded state. This is followed by injecting self-healing capabilities to the workload that applies failure detection and automated corrective measures to prevent instances of downtime.
Crafting a Well-round Testing Strategy.
In the final step, a testing strategy is developed to test and optimize workload reliability. In other words, reliability testing offers recommendations to continuously assess the availability and resiliency of the workload, especially during its critical flows. This is done through deploying chaos engineering techniques to the testing and production environments. By exposing applications to real-time failures, the objective of chao engineering revolves around creating resilience to uncertain and unpredictable conditions.
A Blueprint of Azure Disaster Recovery Solutions
|Azure Site Recovery
|As a DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service), Azure Site Recovery helps Azure workloads, virtual machines and hybrid cloud to recover from disasters and failures. This solution stores the backup data in a secondary Azure region or at an availability zone.
|Azure Backup facilitates data protection for workloads, be it on-prem or Azure. As a scalable and cost-effective solution, it assists in the backup of the VMs, including its OS without having to disrupt the business.
|Azure Storage Replication
|This solution stores several copies of the data to protect them against planned and unplanned incidents such as natural disasters, power outages, and hardware setbacks. During such disruptions, it ensures that the storage files are highly available.
5 Azure Disaster Recovery Best Practices Everyone Should Master
Assessing Your Organization's Needs and Risks:
Before going ahead with creating a DR strategy, it is important to conduct a thorough DR assessment of the organizational requirements and the risks associated with them. This may include sensitive data, regulatory compliances, and navigating the threat landscape.
Test Operational Readiness
To test the effectiveness of the Azure DR strategy, it is mandatory to run through two operational readiness tests namely:
- Failback to the main region
- Failover to the second region
- Failover and failback tests help in ensuring uninterrupted business continuity during downtime or network outages.
Define recovery objectives:
Ensure that not only the recovery targets such as RTOs and RPOs are well-defined but they also align with the long-term goals of the business.
Leverage automation features from Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup to optimize recovery process, thereby reducing the dependencies on manual labor.
Test and Monitor:
Implement the continuous testing of the DR strategy to assess its effectiveness and unlock any gaps or challenges. This should be followed by continuous monitoring of the workloads to send alerts and remediate any issues or threats associated with disaster recovery.
Why Cloud4C Should Be a Part of your Azure Disaster Recovery Strategy?
Generally, organizations have different methods when it comes to building an end-to-end Azure Disaster Recovery Strategy template. For some businesses, they have set up their own internal disaster recovery team. At the same, for many small and medium-sized businesses, this itself is a luxury. The high costs of setting up a secondary datacenter are too much to bear, let alone managing them. This is why more and more companies see the merit in outsourcing their disaster recovery requirements to a managed services partner.
Cloud4C, a leading cloud managed services provider, comes with their set of Disaster Recovery solutions tailored to provide high availability and near-zero downtime for all enterprise workloads on all cloud platforms. Through leveraging our DRaaS solutions, businesses can avoid bearing unnecessary costs such as purchasing or licensing servers, hardware, and software. If that’s not all, we offer automated DR Solution framework for each cloud platform. For instance, Cloud4C’s Azure DRaaS Model, helps businesses manage and monitor their application recovery operations through DR drills and automated switchovers. These features ensure that all the applications are updated as and when Azure releases new capabilities and features.
This is just scratching the surface. If you want to know how to finetune your DR strategy on Azure, connect with our DRaaS experts. Or simply visit our website and take our free assessment session today!